The Impact of Cause-Related Marketing on Consumer Attitude to the Brand and Purchase Intention: A Comparison with Sponsorship and Sales Promotion

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Pope, Nigel
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Frazer, Lorelle
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Cause-related marketing is an emerging area within the marketing discipline, originating in the United States in the 1980s. This thesis defines the term cause-related marketing as a marketing strategy whereby the firm makes a contribution, financial or otherwise, to a nonprofit organisation(s) contingent upon the customer engaging in a revenue providing exchange that satisfies business and individual objectives. This strategy may include additional elements such as sponsorship, sales promotion, co-branding and employee involvement. -- In examining the literature relating to cause-related marketing, a need for further research was identified for a number of reasons. First, there is considerable investment and growth in this strategy both in Australia and overseas. Second, academic and practitioner research have indicated strong consumer support for the concept of cause-related marketing, yet there has been limited evidence to date regarding the effectiveness of this strategy, especially in comparison to other marketing strategies. Finally, in an increasingly challenging business environment, marketing practitioners are seeking to explore new strategies and the efficacy of traditional forms of marketing communications is subject to debate. As such, this thesis explored the following research questions: What is the impact of cause-related marketing on the consumer's response in terms of attitude to the strategy, attitude toward the brand and purchase intention? Do consumers respond more positively toward cause-related marketing than toward sponsorship or sales promotion? To address these questions, an experimental research design incorporating self-administered questionnaires was used. The major finding of this research is that consumers may have a more favourable attitude to cause-related marketing than to either sponsorship or sales promotion, however the brand must be perceived to have a natural association or fit with the cause. Further, cause-related marketing has the ability to engender a more favourable change in attitude to the brand than does sales promotion. This change in attitude is affected by the consumer's attitude to the strategy itself. This study did not, however, demonstrate that exposure to cause-related marketing, sponsorship or sales promotion had a significant effect on purchase intention. Finally, neither gender nor personal values have been shown to influence the above outcomes. The findings of this research have a number of practical implications for the effective use of cause-related marketing.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Marketing
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cause-related marketing
consumer behaviour
consumer behavior
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